book cover of Cuyahoga
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Cuyahoga

(2020)
A novel by

 
 
One of The Millions and BuzzFeed’s Most Anticipated Books

A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls).

Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big Son practically made Ohio City all by himself. The feats of this proto-superhero have earned him wonder and whiskey toasts but very little in the way of fortune. And without money, Big cannot become an honest husband to his beloved Cloe (who may or may not want to be his wife, honestly).

In pursuit of a steady wage, our hero hits the (dirt) streets of Ohio City and Cleveland, the twin towns racing to become the first great metropolis of the West. Their rivalry reaches a boil over the building of a bridge across the Cuyahoga River—and Big stumbles right into the kettle. The resulting misadventures involve elderly terrorists, infrastructure collapse, steamboat races, wild pigs, and multiple ruined weddings.

Narrating this “deliriously fun” (Brian Phillips) tale is Medium Son—known as Meed—apprentice coffin maker, almanac author, orphan, and the younger brother of Big. Meed finds himself swept up in the action, and he is forced to choose between brotherly love and his own ambitions. His uncanny voice—plain but profound, colloquial but surprisingly poetic—elevates a slapstick frontier tale into a screwball origin myth for the Rust Belt.

In Cuyahoga, tragedy and farce jumble together in a riotously original voice. Evoking the Greek classics and the Bible alongside nods to Looney Tunes, Charles Portis, and Flannery O’Connor, Pete Beatty has written a rollicking revisionist (mid)Western with universal themes of family and fate—an old, weird America that feels brand new.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Hear ye, hear ye: Cuyahoga is a singular feat of language and a energized inventive storytelling. In Big Son, I met a mythic American hero, and in his brother Meed, a gifted, indelible raconteur. It learned me much about the Ohio frontier and America's historic establishing, not to mention, I damn near cracked my funny bones laughing. This marvelous tragicomic tale impressed upon my head and heart--twin joys." - Mitchell S Jackson

"A great big American bouncy castle of a book--strange, exhilarating, hilarious and alive--and every sentence so perfect! An absolute delight." - Ben Loory


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Used availability for Pete Beatty's Cuyahoga

Hardback Editions

October 2020 : Hardback
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Title: Cuyahoga
Author(s): Pete Beatty
ISBN: 1-982155-55-8 / 978-1-982155-55-1
Publisher: Scribner
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

October 2020 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Cuyahoga
Author(s): Pete Beatty
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   


October 2020 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Cuyahoga
Author(s): Pete Beatty
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

October 2020 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Cuyahoga
Author(s): Pete Beatty
Publisher: Scribner
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA